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1 given notice to reject several bills of the first importance, and it contended that these members intended to obstruct the progress of business as much as possible. The opinion was hastily, if not erroneously, framed. By giving notice of opposition to a measure, it is brought under the operation of the half-past twelve o'clock rule, which prevents opposed business from being taken after that hour, and the object of Mr. Biggar and Mr. Parnell appeared at first to be nothing more than that of preventing late sittings. The same members took an unusual course in subjecting the Mutiny Bill to severe and searching examination in its passage through Committee, but it was impossible to deny that much of their criticism was sound, and that they had done good service in calling attention to the antiquated principles of that annual law. But a prejudice was thus raised against these members, which they were at no pains to dispel ; indeed, it may be doubted whether they did not feel a pleasure in the contemplation of the repugnance they had excited, and at times consciously try to heighten it. Some lectures delivered by them in London and the provinces, commenting in strong terms on the characteristics of the House of Commons, further developed bad feeling. Squabbles, injurious to the character and dignity of Parliament, recurred with great frequency in the advancing session. In these contests Mr. O'Connor Power brought the assistance of a cooler head and a better mastery of the method of business, to the members already named ; and, within the last month, the election of Mr. O'Donnell for Dungarvan appeared to add to the band a more aggressive Irreconcilable than all the rest. With the four thus described are associated, more or less loosely, three or four others, whose motives of conduct seem to be rooted in a boyish love of mischief rather than in any deeper feeling. The disputes which from time to time arose, generally commenced in a wrangle over the question whether business should or should not be proceeded with at half-past twelve. On the 2nd of July, the House was in Committee on the Army Estimates, and a discussion had arisen out of the Volunteer vote on the grievance that Volunteers were not permitted to be enrolled in Ireland. This vote, however, passed ; and it was then proposed to pass the vote for the Reserve Forces, the hour being a quarter to one, when Mr. O'Connor Power objected on the ground that the question of Volunteers had not been discussed in a proper
Mr. O'Donnell supported the opposition in a speech not calculated to soothe irritated feelings; and a struggle arose between the rest of the House and seven Irish members, joined by Mr. Whalley, which lasted until a quarter past seven in the morning. The minority alternately moved that the Chairman should “report progress,” and that he should “ leave the chair,” and as the House was in Committee the same members were entitled to make the same motions repeatedly. In the end the majority were obliged to give way. Three days after a similar struggle arose, and the feelings generated were hotter than on the first occasion, but as the majority had learnt their impotence the attempt was not prolonged more than two hours. On the 20th, there was another difficulty of the same character, although the minority was less. The occasion of this last incident was an attempt on the part of the Government to dispose of three insignificant amendments, the last that were left, in the Irish Judicature Bill, on a Friday night, after a prolonged discussion on the question of the release of the remaining Fenian prisoners. Had the amendments in question been of any importance it would have been unreasonable to suggest their discussion, but they were trifling, and, such as they were, they could have been reconsidered on the Report. Mr. Biggar, however, had them in charge; and, in avowed resentment at the hostile vote on the question of the release of the prisoners, refused to proceed with them. After a long debate, the Chancellor of the Exchequer suggested that, as it was desirable that the bill should be finished in Committee and reprinted, a morning sitting should be held the next day to dispose of the three remaining amendments. Mr. Parnell accepted the suggestion, while Mr. Biggar sat silent beside him, and it was thought the difficulty was surmounted; but when the sitting opened on Saturday, Mr. Biggar repudiated the arrangement, and four more hours were consumed before the business was concluded. On Monday, the 23rd, there was another wearisome fight, ending in a vote of 386 against 15. On Wednesday, the 25th, there was another struggle, in the course of which Mr. Parnell uttered some words which the Chancellor of the Exchequer moved should be taken downı ; and a motion was then made by the Chancellor that Mr. Parnell was in contempt and be suspended for two days from his functions as member. A debate arose, in the course of which it became clear that the words themselves were not open to censure, and the motion was adjourned to Friday, and there the matter now (26th) rests. As the Session had thus advanced, the Ishmaelite feeling of opposition of this Irish minority had become sharper and more clearly defined. They were repudiated by Mr. Butt and the bulk of the Home Rule party, and they themselves, intentionally or unintentionally, had apparently adopted the policy of making themselves intolerable as fellow-workers with any others in Parliament. They did, indeed, disavow the policy of obstruction, but they admitted having it under consideration, and they thought it might be necessary to pursue it in the next Session. The prospect thus opened up is serious. The existing forms of business in the House of Commons enable a minority of half-a-dozen, or even less, to interpose obstacles to progress such as would reduce legislation to a standstill. Indeed, two members could move in Committee amendments, substantial or unsubstantial, and propositions for adjournment and reporting progress, so as to prevent any bill passing through that stage. This abuse might be checked by disabling any member from making the same dilatory motion twice in Committee, which is now the rule in sittings of the House; but persons bent 'on obstruction would still be unrestrained in the length of their speeches, and, when the House is in Committee, in their frequency; and it would often be prejudicial to the efficient discussion of the details of a proposed law if this last liberty was abridged, nor would the feeling of the House of Commons be easily reconciled to the adoption of the principle of a clôture. It is indeed difficult to repress the uneasy fear that if all these alterations in the rules of procedure were adopted, and along with them others that might be suggested, it would still be possible for a small band of members making it their prime object to disorganize business and provoke their fellow-members to disgust, to accomplish this purpose. We must conclude that this is the hope which animates the counsels of the Irreconcilables. They have persuaded themselves that the House of Commons may be driven to concede Home Rule for Ireland out of sheer desperation and disgust. Unfortunately, it cannot be said that there is no show of reason in their belief. It has too often happened that the claims of justice have been neglected until it was seen that they were about to be supported by violence; and those who hold that the demand for Home Rule is founded on simple justice may argue that it will be allowed to them if they make themselves troublesome, though it would never be conceded to argument. We
We may be sure, however, that many other means of abating an intolerable nuisance will be tried before an allowance of Home Rule is seriously considered. At the commencement of the next Session, if not before, the forms of business will be revised, and those that lend themselves most easily to abuse will be amended. It would in the meantime be useful if we obtained some more trustworthy intelligence as to the view taken in Ireland of the proceedings of Mr. Parnell, Mr. Biggar, and Mr. O'Donnell. As we have said, Mr. Butt has repudiated their tactics, and the majority of the Home Rule party follow him in this repudiation. The minority does not contain more than a tenth of the Home Rulers. Yet it must be confessed that the popular press in Ireland regard Mr. Parnell and Mr. Biggar as heroes and the truest friends of their country, and successive elections bring out the same feeling. Mr. O'Donnell, the latest arrival in the House, is the most studiously offensive member of the section. A vacancy has just been caused by the death of Sir Colman O’Loghlen, and it will be interesting to watch the election to fill it. Sir Colman sat for County Clare, and it will be remembered that it was the election of O'Connell for this constituency which brought about Catholic Emancipation. The
present election will not be of the same high significance, but the result of it will merit attention.
Whilst we have had to apprehend a growing demoralization of the House of Commons, we have been startled by the intelligence of what would appear to be an actual demoralization of the relations between workmen and employers in the United States. A reduction of wages among railway servants in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Maryland, has been followed by strikes, out of which has grown widespread and continuous riot, assuming something of the dimensions of war. It is not more than ten years since some excellent but shortsighted persons pointed to the other side of the Atlantic, to a nation where political freedom had destroyed the very germs of trade disputes. No trades' unionism was known there; nor could the strained relations of capitalists and workmen in Europe be reproduced under its equal institutions. These vain opinions have been entirely falsified by experience; and the events of the past week reveal a disregard of social bonds in the industrial centres of North America such as was scarcely shown in England in the worst days fifty and sixty years since. Philadelphia and Pittsburg have been the most distinguished in this bad way. The latter town, the Birmingham of the United States, was given over to rioters for a couple of days, and some militia, who had been brought into it to preserve order, were defeated and pursued from one shelter to another, until at last they were driven into the neighbouring country and scattered in many directions. It is estimated that 200 were killed and wounded in the fights that marked these days. The contagion of riot, originating with the railway men on strike, spread among all the unemployed in the large towns, now unfortunately a large class, and extended from Baltimore and Philadelphia westwards as far as St. Louis. It has been said that it was even communicated to San Francisco. The disturbances have not yet entirely ceased, and the militia have been summoned from New England to assist the State authorities, while the Federal Government have ordered their troops to the scenes of riot for the same purpose. It must be remembered that some weeks since it was found that many members of an association, called the Molly Maguires, among the coal-workers of Pennsylvania, had been guilty of murder in furtherance of their trade objects, and their crimes having been brought home to them, they were hanged. At present too little is known of the origin of these disorders to pronounce an authoritative judgment on the conditions of society they indicate, but the spectacle presented to us of the mutual hostilities of classes in America demonstrates a degree of social disorganization and disunion calculated to awaken serious and painful anxieties.
July 25, 1877.
· BOOKS OF THE MONTH.
Pessimism. A History and a Criticism. By JAMES SULLY. King & Co.
An account of the pessimistic theory of life and the universe, as set forth in the writings of Schopenhauer and Hartmann, with an examination of its alleged scientific basis. The Science of Language, Linguistics, Philology, and Etymology. By
ABEL HOVELACQUE. Translated by A. H. H. KEANE. Chapman and
Hall. A clear and precise survey of the ground occupied at present by the science of philology.
Serretus and Calrin. By R. Willis, M.D. King & Co. A biography of Servetus, principally in his relation to Calvin. Bacon and Essex. A Sketch of Bacon's Early Life. By Edwin A. ABBOTT.
Seeley. An unfavourable review of Bacon's relations with Essex. Cobilen and the Anti-Corn Law League. By Henry Ashworti. Cassell,
Petter, and Galpin. A narrative of Cobden's personal share in the Anti-Corn Law movement, by one of his coadjutors.
Egypt as It Is. By J. C. McCoan. Cassell, Petter, and Galpin. Substantially a defence of the Khedive's administration. Montenegro: its People and their History. By the Rev. William DEXTON.
Daldy, Isbister & Co. A full and compact account, compiled from the author's previous contributions to periodicals. Custle St. Angelo, and the Evil Eye. Being alditional chapters to “ Robali
Roma." By W. W. Story. Chapman and Hall. Compilations, the latter containing a great number of curious particulars respecting the belief in spells and amulets. Les Evangiles et la Seconde Génération Chrétienne. Par Ernest Renan.
Calmann Lévy; Barthès and Lowell. A history of the Christian literature for the half century subsequent to the fall of Jerusalem, including the Synoptic Gospels and the Acts. Essai de Psychologie. La Bête et l'Homme. Par E. Fouru. Barthès
and Lowell. An endeavour to establish psychology on a physiological basis.
La Grèce avant les Grecs. Par Louis BENLOEW. Maisonneuve.